The necessity of the ‘war machine’
in Shakespeare and the denial of territory
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This chapter presents Deleuze’s and Guattari’s theories (from A Thousand Plateaus) and explores several oppositions, such as ‘smooth space’ versus ‘striated space’, ‘game of Go’ versus ‘chess’, which are related to the main opposition, ‘war machine’ versus ‘State apparatus’, before turning to Coriolanus and King Richard II to see how relevant they can be to analyse Coriolanus’ and Bolingbroke’s respective illegal returns. This chapter focuses on the strength of the ‘war machine’: unpredictability and dazzling speed. Such dazzling speed favours an uncommon striking power, which cannot be found on traditional battlefields where enemy armies face one another, one advancing, the other withdrawing, and vice versa, until the issue is decided. The ‘war machine’ is like a weapon of mass destruction for Coriolanus, whereas, for Bolingbroke, it is a deterrent weapon that will ultimately lead to the king’s deposition and his own coronation. Yet the starting point is the same in both plays: so as to maximise its efficiency, the ‘war machine’ must be set in motion at the right time, so as to take advantage of the weakness of the ‘State apparatus’.

Shakespeare and the denial of territory

Banishment, abuse of power and strategies of resistance

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